A UK-based video website once called “far-right YouTube” said it would continue to make content available on RT, despite the Kremlin-backed TV channel being removed or blocked by television broadcasters and competing sites, including YouTube.
BitChute, a UK-registered video-sharing platform (VSP) with British filmmakers that has a global audience, said RT, formerly known as Russia Today, would remain on its platform as long as he would be legally allowed to do so.
The company, which has hosted films of terrorist attacks, anti-Semitic videos watched by millions and racist murders published by neo-Nazis, is regulated by watchdog Ofcom under an established regime for online services registered at the UK from Snapchat and TikTok to OnlyFans.
Ray Vahey, Chief Executive of BitChute, which incorporated into Companies House in the UK in 2017, said, “BitChute condemns all wars and acts of aggression, and our prayers go out to all whose lives was touched and lost love. during the invasion of Ukraine.
“The UK is a country that believes in due process and free speech, and we cannot defeat authoritarianism by sacrificing principle. RT will stay on BitChute as long as we can legally host them.
Ofcom has launched 27 inquiries into allegations of bias against RT’s news coverage, which Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has called “poisonous propaganda”, and has the power to go so far as to revoke the ban. RT’s broadcast license in the UK.
RT’s British television channel has been unavailable in the UK since last Wednesday after being pulled from Sky, Freeview and Freesat as part of wider European Union sanctions against Russia.
Last week, Google-owned YouTube, which is unregulated in the UK, decided to block channels linked to RT and the Russian state news agency Sputnik across Europe due to the ” ongoing war in Ukraine”. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, also restricted the two companies’ pages across Europe.
Under rules put in place two years ago, ‘UK-based VSPs’ must protect users from harmful content, including to ‘protect the general public from criminal content and material that could incite violence or hatred”.
BitChute is one of 20 companies on Ofcom’s list of VSPs that it monitors, but unlike its role in broadcasting regulation, the watchdog does not adjudicate complaints about VSP content. . Additionally, the VSP Regime does not cover disinformation or legal propaganda and there are no standards of accuracy, fairness or infringement that VSPs must meet.
“UK video platforms must take steps to protect their users from illegal content, but our role is not to rate individual online videos,” an Ofcom spokesperson said. “We have strict rules to ensure TV channels are duly accurate and unbiased.”
The VSP regulations, which are to be replaced by much tougher rules under the Online Safety Bill, focus solely on providing guidance and giving businesses the flexibility to effectively monitor their own operations.
Chris Elmore, Labour’s shadow media minister, said: “As the government moves at a glacial pace to regulate online spaces, many high-risk platforms are operating with apparent impunity, spreading fake news.
“We need strong action to bring down RT, Putin’s propaganda factory. Although it is not being shown here due to actions in Europe, ministers are to press Ofcom to speed up their investigations into the channel and any platforms hosting their content. BitChute shouldn’t harbor RT’s lies and misinformation anywhere.